Sam knelt down and looked through the knothole in the fence. All he could see was the sidewalk and a bit of the street. Huh. “Maybe it only works for cats,” he said.
Harold, the neighbor’s dog, shoved its way under the fence from the side yard. “What are you doing, Sam?” he asked.
“Francis said…” Sam began.
“Who’s Francis?” Harold asked.
“Our cat,” Sam said.
“Oh, the evil, fluffy, white furball?” Harold asked.
“Well, she is white and fluffy,” Sam said.
Harold shuddered. “Say no more. That cat out-evils any cat I’ve ever met.” Sam made a face, and Harold shook his head. “I’m not just saying that because she’s a cat. I share a family with two perfectly friendly cats, you know,” Harold said.
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” Sam said.
“So, what did Francis tell you? That is such an evil sounding name. Frrraaaaaaaaaancissssss. Is that her real name?” Harold used his hind leg to scratch behind his ear.
“It doesn’t sound evil. It’s the name of a saint who loved animals,” Sam said.
“I’m sure she loves the irony. Does she chuckle when you say her name?” Harold asked.
“No, mostly she ignores it. She’s a cat. That’s what cats do,” Sam said.
“I guess you’re right,” Harold said.
“So, what evil things do you think Francis has done?” Sam said. “Since I’m partly responsible for her, I should know.”
“Well, she has a secret laboratory under the hedge at the end of your yard,” Harold said.
“What? I’ve got to see this,” Sam said. He rushed to the end of the yard and started looking under the hedge. “Where is it?” he asked.
“Right behind the red roses,” Harold said. “I’ve seen her late at night, coming up in a little elevator, bathed in red light and chuckling.”
“I don’t see anything,” Sam said.
“It must be well-hidden,” Harold said. “She’s also out there in front sometimes at dawn giving stacks of money to men in black suits.”
“That doesn’t even sound believable,” Sam said.
“But it’s true. And one day, when she thought I was standing a little too close, she pulled a knife out of her collar and threatened me. She said it was poisoned and I’d die a terrible death,” Harold said. “I nearly died of fright.”
“Even if that was true, which I’m having a hard time believing, maybe you scared her. You’re a lot bigger than she is,” Sam said.
“Thank you, Sam,” Francis said.
Harold jumped back several feet. “Where did you come from? You weren’t anywhere near here a moment ago.”
“Harold, Harold, Harold. You are so unobservant. You are also in the wrong yard. Go home, now,” Francis said. Harold dashed to the fence and scrambled through the gap back into his own yard. Francis chuckled.
“Francis, I looked through the knothole like you told me to,” Sam said. “But I don’t think it works for people.”
“It should work for anybody, darling, and show them all the amazing things they’ll accomplish someday,” Francis said.
“But I didn’t see anything,” Sam said.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Francis said. “Perhaps it just means that you need to change the path you’re on. Have you considered becoming a scientist?”
“I like science,” Sam said.
“Good,” Francis said. She began to purr.